NBAPA: Rasheed Sulaimon Extended Interview

Duke's lone commit from the class of 2012 chatted up TDD at the NBA Camp this past weekend.

What's it like going from hitting the game tying three at the end of regulation to losing on a controversial play in overtime?

Rasheed Sulaimon: You know, I just hate to lose. Whether it be in camp or pickup, it was a difficult loss to take especially with how we lost. I mean, we fought back from being down over 20 points. We came back. I was able to hit the three to tie it, and then with the one minute overtime, I was just trying to hold it, then with 20 seconds left the guy was pressuring me, so I was utilizing my bigs as picks and Coach called a timeout to get us situation. Then the ref said we didn't have a timeout even though we thought we had been told that we had a timeout prior to overtime started. The ref called a tech and said it was the other team's ball so our mindset was to get a stop and the other team was able to get a last second jump shot to go in. It was hard man, not going to lie.

You played the vocal leader role during the game especially in trying to keep your teammates together during difficult points in the game. Where does that ability come from?

My thing is I just want to win, so whatever I can to do to help my teammates get going, you know, lets play defense, get the rebounds, I just do what I can to be a great teammate and keep us focused. My teammates really helped us get things back and then when my group came in, we just stayed focused on bringing things back.

Most of the guys we've talked to here at camp come in with a goal of how they want to improve. What were your goals for this week?

Definitely I just want to be a sponge and soak up whatever I can from the NBA guys here. Guys like Chucky Atkins, Stephen Graham, Tony Allen, they've all been teaching me some tricks of the game they have learned to help them deal against bigger, stronger defenders, they are telling me how to think the game. It really helped me in tonight's game, I struggled a lot in the morning game so I just listened to the NBA guys, worked on my game in the skill development workouts, and it really paid off.

I saw on Twitter this afternoon that you were coming to camp with the mission of recruiting Tony Parker and Rodney Purvis….

Yeah, me and Tony and Rodney, we have a good friendship so I've been texting with them. With Tony, I've been talking with him all day giving him an earful about Duke. I know Tony has said to me he really likes Duke a lot and they are one of the schools he is still considering, hopefully I can continue to help him like them and maybe we can go on our official visit together.

What are Tony and Rodney saying in response to you talking with them about joining you at Duke?

They respond very well. They both have told me that they like Duke a lot and Duke is a great school is in it's own right. All these schools have something to offer to Tony and Rodney, but I just try to keep Duke in their heads and if I'm hoping that maybe if I say Duke enough times, when it comes time for decision time, they'll think Duke.

What do you focus on when you are talking to them about Duke? Does it focus on coming in with you in your class or is it focused on Duke as a university and program and what it has to offer?

It's really a plethora of things to be honest. Coming in playing with me, I talk about how we fit in together and how I like how they play and they tell me how much they like how I play. We talk about how if we come together as a freshman class we could be really dangerous, could do a lot of really great things. With Duke the program, it's a great program, Coach K is a great coach, their coaching staff develops players greatly, the fans, the atmosphere, there's just a lot of things about Duke that are great.

A lot of times when guys who are high major recruits commit early on to a school, they kind of fall off the radar so to speak in the media. Is that something you are noticing with you ? Is that hard to deal with?

Yeah I mean, that's something I've seen from last year. I was getting more media attention because I was undecided, and everybody wants to know where you are going when you are undecided. Since I have committed, things have kind of settled down, but now I have a greater target on my back because I'm a Duke commit, so I can't have any off games. Since my name isn't being mentioned as much in the media, I take it on myself to play at a high level that people expect. It just motivates me even more to play harder.

Switching gears, have you had any communication with the new coach on the staff, Coach Capel?

Actually I have. He was down in Dallas before the announcement and he was kind of giving me hints a bit that something was coming and then when he got the job, he emailed me and we've been talking since then. We've got a real good relationship going back to when he was Oklahoma, he had recruited me when he was there, so I'm looking forward to continuing that relationship now that we're both a part of the Duke family.


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